It was a blessing to have Edwin Copeland, the Executive Director of Church United, at Hollywood Community Church yesterday. His message about transformative unity was right on point. If you didn’t hear it, you can find it here http://site.ourhcc.org/sermons/
The simple truth is that churches have ministered independent of each other far too long. Sadly, our distinctions, our divisions and our disagreements have hindered the growth of the body of Christ. HCC has ministered in Hollywood for more than 60 years and we are farther behind in evangelizing our city today than we were 60 years ago. How tragic!
So recently, we began to ask several convicting questions, “What would happen if we started collaborating with other churches for the sake of mission?” Could we significantly increase the number of evangelical believers in Broward County? Could collaborating with other churches for the sake of the gospel actually make a difference for the cause of Christ? We believe the answer to those questions is a resounding, “YES!”
The message stirred some tremendous questions and some healthy discussion. So, let me clarify what uniting together for mission means. Here are a few important points…
1.We are not collaborating with those who reject the Gospel.
Some fear that an invitation to collaborate opens the door for cults to participate. I assure you that there are no groups involved who deny the deity of Christ, the sufficiency of Christ’s work on the cross and the core of the Gospel message. Church United is a Gospel-driven movement.
2. It doesn’t mean that we lose our doctrinal distinctions.
Others have worried that cooperating with different churches and denominations would cause us to weaken our theological position. That simply is not the case. HCC has not and will not change its core beliefs. The purpose of Church United is not to break down doctrinal distinctions, but rather to not allow such differences to hinder the growth of God’s Kingdom.
3.We must unite together for the sake of the Gospel
Quite frankly, the unbelieving world does not grasp the things that divide us. They don’t understand the difference between Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians and Community Churches. They cannot comprehend the theological dissimilarity between conversion baptism and infant baptism. They could care less if we are cessationists or continuists. All they know is that there are a bunch of people who call themselves Christians who cannot get along. Sadly, we are often the biggest obstacle to evangelism. Why would an unbeliever want to embrace a Gospel of disagreement and division? The simple truth is they don’t. Genuine love for one another is the only thing that will point them to Jesus.
4.We must unite together for Jesus
Edwin Copeland articulated this point so clearly in yesterday’s message. In John 17, just a few hours before His death, Jesus pleaded with the Father for unity among believers. He based his plea for unity on several foundational truths…
- The unity of the Trinity (v. 21) – Obviously, there is no division between God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. They are fully and intrinsically united.
- The glory of the Son (v. 22) – Disunity is inglorious, but genuine unity is glorious. When believers unite together Jesus is glorified.
- The identity of the Savior (v. 23) – Jesus says that believers uniting together actually proves the identity of Jesus as the Messiah and Redeemer of the world.
5.We must unite together for mission
We can accomplish so much together! This last year has clearly proven that point. Whether it was paying of the medical bills of the FLL shooting victims or the rebuilding of communities in Pompano, Dania Beach and Fort Lauderdale, together we have been able to demonstrate to Broward County that the Church of Jesus Christ loves them and loves each other.
The simple truth is that Jesus’ plea must be our passion! If unity was important to Him, it must be imperative to us. I truly believe that by uniting together for the sake of the Gospel we will experience the blessing and the revival for which we have longed and prayed.